Thinking about a beach vacation to Hawaii? Your trip isn’t complete without laying down your towel on the best beaches on Maui. From black to golden sand, snorkeling, sea turtles, and sunset cocktails, the island’s beautiful beaches—shaped by the Pacific Ocean and ancient volcanoes—offer the full Hawaiian seaside vacation experience.
In the middle of the archipelago, Maui’s prettiest beaches provide stunning views of nearby islands, uninhibited sunsets, and some of the best snorkeling in Hawaii. Have your choice of remote locations on the Road to Hana, or enjoy the action along the more popular west and south shores.
Need help planning the perfect Maui beach vacation? Allow us to lend a hand with our guide to the best Maui beaches.
Top-rated Maui beaches
Located along the famous Road to Hana, Hamoa Beach is one of the loveliest beaches in Maui. Stop along the epic coastal road, lie down your towel and soak in the unbelievable scenery. The crescent beach offers pristine white sand and turquoise waters as clear as glass as the native Hala trees provide shade.
This East Maui gem isn’t home to any offshore reefs, meaning the water can have some strong currents. In the winter months, surfers flock to Hamoa Beach as the swell picks up, creating one of the more scenic breaks on the island.
Keep in mind: There’s no lifeguard on duty at Hamoa Beach. Be sure to stay safe and enjoy the mesmerizing views.
Just around the corner from the remote beaches on the east coast is the resort-laden southern shoreline, home to Wailea Beach. The glamorous golden beach is home to two resorts, including the famous Grand Wailea Resort. Along this lovely stretch of sand, you’ll find plenty of nearby restaurants and oceanfront bars.
The popular beach curves around the coast, delivering epic views of the Molokini Crater and Lanai. Sunbathe on the soft sand or wade in the electric blue water, home to pleasant snorkeling in the winter months. Arrive early to enjoy calm seas and a vibrant underwater world before the sandy shores fill with visitors.
Along the shore, you’ll have access to gear shops renting SUPs, surfboards, and boogie boards to enjoy your time on the water.
Below Wailea Beach in South Maui, the 0.6-mile long Makena Beach will have you believing heaven is a place on earth. Also known as Big Beach and Oneloa Beach, the stretch of sand shows a lack of development, allowing for a beautiful experience among nature’s best work.
The beach sits within Makena State Park, with its hills rising sharply out of the ocean. The sandy beach is a haven for snorkelers, who’ll have lifeguards looking over them as they explore the pristine waters. As for the sunbathers, they’ll enjoy the 100-foot-wide shoreline with plenty of room to spread out.
When you’re feeling peckish, head over to the delicious Jawz Taco Truck for a midday beachside snack.
One of the most popular Maui beaches, Ka’anapali Beach brings a slice of Waikiki to the second-largest Hawaiian island. At Ka’anapali, resorts line the 3-mile shore, offering an endless supply of beachfront restaurants and bars. The on-water action here won’t disappoint either!
Located in West Maui, Ka’anapali Beach is the perfect spot for snorkeling in calm conditions. On the northern end of the beach, you’ll find a colorful world underneath the blue-hued surface. Among the abundance of marine life, keep an eye out for Hawaii’s famous green sea turtles.
Also on the north end of Kaanapali Beach is Black Rock. One of the coolest places to see on Maui, the 16-foot lava rock formation makes for some exhilarating cliff jumping as you dive into the aquamarine waters of the Pacific Ocean.
Tucked in between Wailea and Kihei and backed by stunning private residences, Keawakapu Beach is a local South Maui favorite. And it won’t take you long to find out why.
Thanks to the car park at the southern end, you’ll enjoy easy access before taking a beautiful walk along the golden shore towards the tide pools.
If you’ve arrived at Keawakapu Beach in the winter or on an early summer morning, make the most of the peaceful conditions by venturing out on a paddleboard. Gaze through the turquoise ocean, keeping an eye out for the beautiful life below.
When the water is out, head to the tide pools to see what you can discover. After your adventure, stick around for a blazing sunset.
Flanked on each end by beautiful coral reefs, Kapalua Beach is a breathtaking sight. Behind the white sand beach looms the impressive Mauna Kahalawai, an ancient volcano. But the views don’t end there. Dazzle at the turquoise water guiding your eyes across the strait towards the island of Moloka’i.
Kapalua Bay Beach is popular with travelers but remains family-friendly; it’s one of the safest swimming spots and best snorkeling beaches in Maui throughout the year. You’ll love snorkeling along the reef with little swell to block your path. Keep an eye out for sea turtles or simply relax on the soft sand as soothing as a lullaby.
If you’re ever feeling restless at Kapalua, take a walk along the beautiful Kapalua Coastal Trail. One of the best hiking trails on Maui, the 1.76-mile path leads to D.T. Fleming Park on Honokahua Bay.
Baldwin Beach Park
Close to the wonderful coastal town of Paia, Baldwin Beach Park is packed with amenities, great swimming, and stunning sunset views. On a clear day, the waves roll towards you in endless sets, with the soaring West Maui Mountains providing a gorgeous backdrop.
The waves are small and forgiving, creating a memorable opportunity to test out your body-surfing or boogie boarding skills. Families with young ones, on the other hand, can make the most of the aptly named Baby Beach. This section can be found at the west end if Baldwin Beach Park, where a protected lagoon shields swimmers from the elements.
For lunch, make use of the spacious lawns where you’ll find picnic tables and bathrooms. As for sunset, you’ll find plenty of privacy for a romantic evening along the one-mile shoreline.
Charley Young Beach
Of the three beaches in Kamaole Beach Park, Charley Young Beach is the biggest, a place away from the crowd where locals gather. The beach is close to Kihei, with giant ironwood trees providing shade along the calm shoreline that’s a glorious spot for a morning swim and snorkel.
Find your perfect spot along the 3-mile stretch of sand that refuses to get crowded even in the peak season. There’s a lack of amenities at Charley Young Beach. You’ll find little more than a portable toilet and showers, and no lifeguard stations.
When the wind picks up in the afternoon, settle down as the waves grow and welcome Maui’s local surfers.
Ho’okipa Beach Park
With the consistent winds whipping across the gorgeous Ho’okipa Beach Park, windsurfers flock to these sandy shores. The stretch of sand hosts international windsurfing events, providing some of the best live action to be found in Maui. The swell is nothing to scoff at either, with great year-round surf for experienced riders.
The parking area is high on a cliff offering vast views of the West Maui Mountains along with the beach and surf below. If you’re happy to endure the winds, relax on the beach, offering protected grounds for local sea turtles.
A small but scenic beach, Polo Beach is one that few travelers end up on as they make their way around Maui. Lacking the renown of the nearby Wailea Beach, it’s easy to overlook—if you even hear about Polo Beach at all!
The quaint and rocky shoreline leads to beautiful shallow waters that are especially magnificent for swimming in the morning. Polo Beach also offers a full range of amenities, from restrooms and showers to picnic tables and BBQs for your afternoon feast.
From the shore, you’ll enjoy wondrous views of Lanai and Kaho’olawe. In the winter, the channel between the islands teems with humpback whales, making it a perfect spot for whale-watching adventure.
With the Haleakala volcano blocking the tradewinds for longer, you’ll enjoy the South Shore’s calmest conditions on Maluaka Beach. In its soft waters, floating towards the golden sand, you’ll make the most of the prime snorkeling conditions by diving to the reefs below for enchanting views.
Maluaka Beach is also known as Turtle Town—and for good reason. As you swim out to the reefs, sitting 100 feet from shore, keep an eye out for green sea turtles who often graze upon the beautiful coral. For the best snorkeling and chance to see the turtles, embark from the southern end of the beach.
Located south of Kapalua, the jaw-dropping Napili Beach is home to white sand as soft as silk and brilliant sunsets. On Napili Bay, you’ll enjoy a gentle surf that’s broken up by the off-shore reef.
Without the large swells found elsewhere, you can easily go paddleboarding. Glide across the glassy surf, glistening in fifty shades of blue.
The same reef that protects the golden sand of Napili Beach also features excellent snorkeling. The calm water of Napili Bay offers amazing clarity, allowing you to see everything as if above the surface. Like on many beaches on Maui, you’ll have a great chance to see frolicking turtles here, too.
Gracing the shores of South Maui, Oneuli Beach is the island’s secret beach where the black sands glisten under the blazing Hawaiian sun. Oneuli itself translates to “black sand,” referring to its sandy dark shores deposited from the nearby Pu’u Ola’i Cinder Cone. Chuck in a sprinkle of crushed shells and you have one picturesque shoreline.
Also known as Naupaka Beach, Oneuli has a sheer lava wall off-shore creating some tricky swimming conditions. The local reef is, however, beloved by scuba divers who regularly spot turtles, manta rays, and reef sharks.
As beautiful as it is, keep in mind that Oneuli Beach does not have restrooms or lifeguards.
Kahekili Beach Park
Perched north of Ka’anapali Beach, Kahehili Beach Park is a fantastic option for families and groups of travelers. Whether you’ve made some friends at the local hostel or are traveling with your hometown mates or young kids, you can make the most of the expansive park. Behind the white sand beach you’ll find BBQ grills, bathrooms, lawns, and a pavilion.
When you aren’t throwing the ball around or cooking up lunch, head down to the protected beach with the coral reef just offshore. Its proximity makes it a wonderful spot to snorkel for the first time without having to swim far for a taste of what’s below the surface.
In the winter, keep an eye out for wandering humpback whales.
Kamaole Beach Park
Made up of three sections, Kamaole Beach Park provides the total Maui beach experience. Kama I, aka Charley Young Beach, is the biggest of the lot, featuring powder white sand and beautiful swimming in the morning hours.
Kama II is slightly smaller but often sees a smaller crowd compared to its big brother. The beach is just 0.3 miles long. You’ll enjoy snorkeling at each end, with the interior offering nothing but a crystal-clear golden sand bottom.
Kama III is even smaller but provides a different spectacle for beachgoers. Watch as the waves crash against the rocks and explode into the sky. The enthralling show can be enjoyed from the beach or in the spacious park behind.
Towards the north end of the scenic Wailea beach walk, you’ll stumble upon Mokapu Beach. A reef splits Mokapu with Ulua Beach to the south. It provides beach bums with calm waters, beautiful snorkeling, and scuba diving in the summer months.
Ulua Beach has more amenities, with showers, restrooms, and a large parking lot. However, this tends to draw larger crowds. You can easily find a quieter patch of sand just steps away at Mokapu. If you aren’t up for snorkeling, you can also take advantage of the nice swell for some fun boogie boarding.
Mokapu Beach fronts the Andaz Wailea Hotel, one of the best places to stay on Maui. While it helps to maintain the exclusive vibe, keep in mind that the beach chairs are for hotel guests only.
As you get ever closer to the end of the Road to Hana, make one last stop at Waianapanapa Beach. The sparkling black sand beach is a sight to behold, backed by the rugged, untamed jungle on Maui’s east coast.
The stunning stretch is part of Waianapanapa State Park. You can make your way to the beautiful beach via a gravel road and a walking trail.
Once you reach the sands at Waianapanapa, you’ll be compelled to dive immediately into the glistening water. In the small cove, you can explore the lava caves, rocks sculpted by the ocean, and its captivating sea arch.
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Reservations must be made two weeks in advance to visit Waianapanapa State Park.
Located just off of the Hana Highway, Koki Beach is famed for its distinctive dark red sand. According to local legend, the beach marks the site where the volcano goddess Pele lost her final battle to her older sister, Namakaokaha’i, the goddess of the ocean. After the defeat, Pele’s bones were stacked along the shoreline as her spirit was whisked away to Kilauea on the Big Island.
Even without the legends to bolster its fame, Koki Beach is one of the most popular beaches on Maui. It’s one of the two most powerful surf breaks around Hana and attracts some of the island’s most daring local surfers.
Needless to say, with its strong rip currents, powerful waves, and lack of lifeguards on duty, Koki isn’t a fantastic swimming beach—even when in the tamer summer months. Head elsewhere on the island if taking a casual dip is on your agenda.
Launiupoko Beach Park
Easily accessible from the Honoapiilani Highway, Launiupoko Beach Park is one of West Maui’s finest oceanfront spots. Whether you’re looking to engage in fun water activities or enjoy a relaxing lunch under the palm trees at its picnic facilities, this popular county park deserves a place in your Maui travel plans.
Launiupoko Beach offers a fantastic swimming spot for little ones thanks to a natural cove hemmed in by a lava rock wall. For more adventurous visitors, the shoreline is home to three surf breaks, hitting their peak in the summer months.
Visiting Maui in winter? Stop by Launiupoko to test your luck at witnessing pods of whales cruising the channel between Maui and Lanai.
Also known as White Rock Beach, Palauea Beach sits between Makena and Wailea on the South Maui coastline. As it’s tucked away in a residential area, this stretch of sand is quieter than other Maui beaches, making it a great choice for escaping the crowds.
Palauea Beach is surrounded by lava rock formations that provide sanctuary for colorful marine life. Strap on a mask and snorkel to explore the undersea world as tropical fish and sea turtles whirl past.
Want to check out the bounty of Maui’s tropical waters? Venture up the island’s northwestern shore to frolic in Honolua Bay. Part of the Mokuleia Marine Life Conservation District, Honolua Bay is home to a vast selection of marine life, from tropical fish to sea turtles to coral reefs.
Grab your snorkel or scuba diving gear and slip into the clear waters off the shoreline as colorful fish swirl around you, careening through the reefs.
If you’re escaping to Hawaii on a winter vacation, bring along your surfboard: Honolua Bay is one of the best beaches on Maui for surfing. In winter, the strong winds stir up massive breaks, leaving surfers to find glory in riding its long, hollow waves.